An Interview With The Commonwealth Super Flyweight Champion Tommy Frank
By Paul Oltai
Since speaking to Tommy in March the Sheffield super flyweight sensation has gone on to become Commonwealth champion and pick up the prestigious rainbow coloured belt with a 4th round stoppage over tough Luke Wilton in Frank’s home town of Sheffield.
He steps back in the ring tonight at the Ponds Forge Arena, Sheffield.
This time fighting for the vacant WBC Internation Silver super flyweight title against former Thai boxer Aran Dipaen.
Currently ranked the 3rd best super fly in Britain he is hoping this will progress him into the world rankings and one step closer to his dream of fighting for a world title.
We spoke about what has happened since his fight and what he wants to happen moving forward.
How did it feel that night when you actually won the Commonwealth belt?
‘To be honest it was a night I will never forget, it was absolutely brilliant you know what I mean. I was over the moon when I won my first title the Central Area title, it’s brilliant to win a belt in boxing full stop because no matter what for the rest of your life you won that belt and no one can take it away from you. So it is a great feeling and with your name in the record books, especially to win a Commonwealth title you know it is a big title and a lot of good fighters have had that.
‘You talk about your likes of Sheffield hero Clinton Woods and fighters like that have all held that title. To also do it in my 10th fight against a guy who really on paper where thinking it was a little to early for me. I showed that I wasn’t just a decent boxer and mover in that fight, I wanted to show that I had another side of me where I can let the shots go and punch hard for the weight. I definitely showed that. Overall a night I will never forget.’
With you fighting for the WBC belt are you still the Commonwealth title holder or have you vacated?
‘Yeah I am still Commonwealth champion, last time out I was scheduled to defend my Commonwealth against a Tanzanian but like literally 4 or 5 days before the fight he failed his visa. So thankfully Dennis Hobson and Steve Trump managed to get me a replacement opponent also a Tanzanian and he actually had a better record than my original opponent than the guy I was scheduled to fight in the first place.
‘But with it being short notice the Commonwealth council are quite strict who they sanction and was a bit to short notice, I still class it as a defence cause the opponent like I say was better than my original.’
Are you looking forward to adding a nice green WBC belt to your collection should you win Saturday?
‘Yeah definitely, obviously as a kid you dream of having one of them green belts one day, I am fully aware this is just a ranking title to get me a world ranking in the WBC but it’s still a nice belt to have and a good achievement and a step closer to where I eventually want to be which is to be world champion.’
‘I am actually a big fan of the current WBC champ Estrada, having watched his last couple of fights when he won the title and defended, I love his style. A typical Mexican style comes forward and throws his shots nice and tucked up and you know obviously these are dream type of fights. But I know I am not at that stage yet, but don’t get me wrong obviously if someone offered me to get in with him right now I would grab it with both hands. I would probably come up short to be honest because I am not ready for a world title YET and would give it a very good go and wouldn’t show myself up.’
I know when we spoke the first time you said you wanted to try and start to impose your power in the ring and sit down on your shots more, do you feel this is starting to click more now?
‘It all comes down to learning in the gym every day, and the main thing is I always go on about being from Sheffield and how proud I am to be from Sheffield but I want to give the people what they want to see.
‘People like who like boxing like to see good boxing but you know your every day man in street who is turning up to have a beer wants to be entertained so I want to try and mix the two. I want to put on a good boxing display but also at the same time get them out of there when I need to and excite the crowd. It is what we have been working on for the past 5 or 6 months and it is starting to pay off now.’
How has your camp been for this fight do you feel?
‘Yeah as always it has been brilliant, I don’t think there is any such thing as a perfect camp but you can always get as close as you can and this is what that one has been.
‘There is always little obstacles to overcome but that is what training camps are for when preparing for a big fight. The main difference for this fight is I have actually got a nutrionist on board his name is Lee Rickards he is the nutrionist for the 1st team at Sheff Utd so obviously I am always working very close with Sheff Utd so that was a match made in heaven.
‘To be honest with you it has been brilliant and I have had to put a lot of trust in the guy but it is paying off, I have been lower in weight than I have ever been this close to a fight. I had pretty much made weight last week and have still been performing in the gym, that goes to show to me that it is going to pay dividends on the night in my performance as well.’
Beyond this fight, obviously not meaning to over look your opponent where do you want to go towards the end of the year?
‘To be honest with you I think we will get this fight out the way and get this WBC belt out the way then sit down and have a think and see what options are on the table. As I have always said it I will jump in with anyone as a fighter. I leave who I fight up to Glynn, Dennis and Steve and we are moving in the right direction and we will sit down and have a chat afterwards.’
I know the British title is vacant and you where ordered to face Sunny Edwards. What happened there?
‘Yeah so in between me being ready to defend my Commonwealth the last time out the board put out a purse bid for me and Sunny Edwards.
‘Personally I really respect Sunny and personally it is a fight I would love and obviously boxing for a British title that is something I have dreamed of, and is a belt I want to capture at some point in my career.
‘ You know Glynn and Dennis sat me down and said we want to build the fight a bit more and make it into a bigger fight and bigger pay day further down the line. There is no needle on my part but I don’t like to bad mouth fighters or disrespect them. I put my trust in Glynn and Dennis and the team and at the end of the day whatever they say goes. I am going to trust their judgement. I am up for fighting anyone. Me and Sunny will meet at some point and what a fight that will be for the fans.’
When we last spoke you said growing up you seen a lot of inspiration in the gym with pros when they where winning titles, do you feel you have now become an inspiration to some of the younger generation in your gym?
‘It was brilliant because our gym is packed full of kids ya know and they start really early there. Just to be a role model to them like I had through the likes of Sam Sheedy and John Fewkes, Jez Wilson and Lee Edwards, there was countless role models for me and I can always remember growing up and being 13-14yr old going to pro shows thinking god one day I want to be headlining shows and now I am.
‘So when I take the Commonwealth belt in the gym I can see the look on the kids faces and that was me as a youngster. It gives me a good feeling and make me feel good knowing that I could inspire them to go for it and follow their dreams, even if I can inspire one kid to do it I am the proof it can be done and that is what I want them to see.’
If you can’t make it down to the Ponds Forge Arena tonight make sure you tune into Freesports at 9:45pm to watch the fight live.